Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fall 2009 Schedule / Next Meeting 10/7

Thanks to all of you who have helped to identify speakers to bring to our working group, books to purchase for our library, and topics for future sessions! Amazingly, the fall semester's meetings have largely fallen into place and we're already spilling over with ideas for Spring. Special thanks to David Holstius and Ryan Shaw for bringing Carl and Dilan into our orbit.

Our next meeting will be October 7th. All meetings will take place in the BCNM Commons (340 Moffitt).

Wednesday 10/7, 3-4:30
Discuss McKenzie Wark’s A Hacker Manifesto (2004) and Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle (1967).
Wark is Chair of Culture and Media at the Eugene Lang College of The New School and part of The New School for Social Research. In A Hacker Manifesto, Wark wields both Deleuze and Debord in relation to the issues of property, production, and information commodification in our era of globalized digital media. Championing the rise of a new hacker class, Wark takes on by now well-rehearsed debates over intellectual property and digital divides using Debord's aphoristic, French Marxist style.

From the Debord, we'll read sections I, II, and VIII ("Separation Perfected," "The Commodity as Spectacle," and "Negation and Consumption in the Cultural Sphere"). From the Wark, we'll read "Abstraction," "Class," "Education," "Hacking," "Information," "Revolt," and "Vector." Chapters will be scanned and posted at http://nmwg.notlong.com within the next couple of days.

Thursday 10/29, 4-5:30 (subject to change)
Guest Speaker: Carl DiSalvo
DiSalvo has worked at the intersection of design, technology and politics since 2000. From 2000 – 2005 he was a member of the tactical media collective Carbon Defense League, which engaged in designing software for activists, hacking electronics and information systems, and orchestrating oppositional media events to prompt public debate. In 2006 he received a Ph.D. in Design from Carnegie Mellon University. From 2006 – 2007 he was a post-doctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University with joint appointments in the Studio for Creative Inquiry and the Center for the Arts in Society, where he conducted scholarly and applied research into the use of robotics and sensing technologies in community contexts. In 2006 he also co-founded DeepLocal, a software and design consultancy that provides information design and location-based services to advocacy, journalism and municipal organizations. Since 2007 he has been an assistant professor of Digital Media in the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Wednesday 11/4, 3-4:30
**Our FIRST NMWG Tech Seminar**
Web Architecture Basics
Ryan Shaw, Ph.D. candidate, School of Information

Ryan will offer a conveniently condensed portion of his iSchool 190 course on Web Architecture and Information Management. That course focuses on understanding the Web as an information system, and how to use it for information management for personal and shared information. The Web is an open and constantly evolving system which can make it hard to understand how the different parts of the landscape fit together. This session will provide an overview of the Web as a whole, and how the individual parts fit together.

Wednesday 11/18, 3-4:30

Wednesday 12/2, 3-4:30
Guest Speaker: Dilan Mahendran, Ph.D. candidate, School of Information

Race and Computation

Dilan Mahendran is a Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley's School of Information and a BCNM DE student. His academic areas of interest lie in Race Critical Theory, Postcolonial Studies, Philosophy of Technology, Philosophical Anthropology, and Phenomenology. He is also interested in the methodological problems of positivism and naturalism in technology studies and issues of constructivism in the social study of science and technology. Dilan's research areas are centered around the impact of digital technology in hip-hop music making. He has conducted ethnographic fieldwork at the DJ Project, a hip-hop music production after-school program in the Mission district of San Francisco and in East Oakland, California. Dilan received his BA in Anthropology from Northeastern University and his MS from the School of Information, UC Berkeley.

For next semester, we're looking at basing sessions around the work of and visits by Erin Manning (Relationscapes; Concordia University, Montreal) and Frances Dyson (Sounding New Media:Immersion and Embodiment in the Arts and Culture; UC Davis Technocultural Studies). More to come!


Friday, September 25, 2009

CFP: The Future of the Forum

The Future of the Forum: Internet Communities and the Public Interest

Saturday, December 5, 2009 at the University of California, Berkeley

Keynote Speakers:

Jim Buckmaster, CEO of craigslist

Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia

Please send 300-word abstracts and a one-page C.V. to Professor Abigail De Kosnik at adekosnik@berkeley.edu by October 5, 2009.

Learn more about the Berkeley Center for New Media at http://bcnm.berkeley.edu/.

Jürgen Habermas’'s treatise on “the public sphere” locates the seeds of the French Revolution in the 18th century rise of new media, newspapers and journals, in coffee houses and reading clubs, that facilitated the rapid exchange of ideas among educated citizens outside the state’s control. In contrast, Søren Kierkegaard attributed the inertia of the mid 18th century to the public’s superficial engagement with media: “[T]he public comes into existence because all its participants become third parties….[T]his public gallery seeks some distraction, and soon gives itself over to the idea that everything which someone does, or achieves, has been done to provide the public something to gossip about….”

Internet forums – participatory and collaboratively authored online communities, discussion boards, blogs, and social networking sites – are rapidly changing the modes and norms of public communication. Will our new media age be a revolutionary one, similar to that analyzed by Habermas? Or will it be a period of widespread passivity, as Kierkegaard lamented of his own time?

This one-day symposium will explore the question, How are Internet communities re-configuring and re-constituting common conceptions of the public, the public good, the public interest, and civic responsibility? What new forms of dialogue are emerging with our new media? When do the pleasures of interacting with digital technologies coincide with, and facilitate, progressive social action?

Are the protocols of Internet affinity groups fragmenting the public into increasingly narrower niches, thus undermining opportunities for productive debates amongst individuals with diverse opinions? Or are contemporary Web users more often than not forging alliances and finding overlaps with strangers who are radically different from them in the “real world?”

The symposium will take place at the University of California, Berkeley. As a public university that has itself served as a medium for the emergence of new forms of public activism, UC Berkeley will provide an ideal setting for scholars to present pioneering research on new media and the public interest.

The symposium organizers invite proposals for papers addressing novel aspects of online participation, the formation of new publics, and the public good. Papers may be specific, focusing on case studies of particular Internet groups, or more theoretical and general in their approach.

Paper topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Historical analyses of how earlier forms of “new” media impacted the public sphere and the public interest (e.g., the printing press, the telephone, the radio, the cinema, ’zine culture).

  • The impact of political blogs, “Tweets,” YouTube vids, MoveOn.org, candidate fan sites, “smart mob” technologies (Howard Rheingold), and other attempts to use new media for political organization, and their effects on “real-world” politics (e.g., the 2008 U.S. presidential elections, the 2009 “green revolution” in Iran).

  • “Participatory cultures” (Henry Jenkins) such as Internet fan communities, Wikipedia pages, and YouTube, which lower the barriers to entering – thereby presumably democratizing – the field of cultural production.

  • The concepts of “free” and/or “open” applying to a vast array of contemporary collectives/initiatives, not just to software development (e.g., open access journals, Christopher Kelty’s theory of “recursive publics” – self-governing communities that constantly make/modify/maintain their own infrastructure).

  • Citizen journalism, participatory journalism, and other models for publishing news online that have eroded or re-invented traditional print news publishing models (e.g., Drudge Report, local community blogs, ad-free news Web sites).

  • The establishment of alternate economies on the Internet, including reputation economies and “cycles of credit” (Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar), gift economies, and the attention economy. The intersection of these economies and issues of labor and leisure (e.g., creating popular online content for fame/praise rather than for compensation, eBay and Amazon.com sellers’ reputation linked to their income), and the question of whether the Internet is altering the structure of capitalism.

  • Issues of reputation and representation. The importance of authorship, authority, and identity in Internet communities, the uncertainties of ascertaining who is “speaking” online, and whether open dialogue and trust between strangers is possible on the Internet (e.g., the anonymity of participation permitting flaming and censorship in Internet exchanges, plagiarism from online sources).

  • New forms of public personae, public performance, and public broadcasting being founded via new media, and whether or how they provide the kind of entertainment-based “social glue” that mass broadcast media used to offer (e.g., “best-of-craigslist” posts, Yelp recommendations, Perez Hilton, Howcast.com).

Thursday, September 10, 2009

9/16 Paul Virilio: Then and Now

For the last thirty years, Paul Virilio has been at the forefront of thinking through the connections between such seemingly disparate forces as optics, warfare, information, media, architecture, and the science of speed, or what he refers to as 'dromology'. This week's reading looks to chart two separate but interrelated vectors in relation to his thought. The first is the transformation in his work over the twenty plus years that separate the publication of his seminal "Speed and Politics" and the later "The Information Bomb." Simply put, our aim here will be to see how the prescience often cited in the earlier work has matured and transformed in the later work. The second question we'll consider is the extent to which Virilio's observations on New Media from a pre-crash, pre 9/11 era dominated by Dolly the sheep and Jennicam hold-up a decade later.

Discussion Leader: Kris Fallon
Readings: nmwg.notlong.com

Note: NMWG meets the first and third Wednesdays of each month in Fall 2009. Meetings are located in the Berkeley Center for New Media Commons (340 Moffitt), next to the Free Speech Movement Cafe.